Today is my daughter E’s 21st birthday and her little blister L will be 18 on Friday.
It seems like yesterday that my waters broke and I naively thought I had spent too long in the bath, soaking up too much water that had to come out somewhere! My body remembers more than my brain the warm, wet feeling that occurred almost two months too soon. She was supposed to arrive at the end of November. This was the beginning of October. We had prepared nothing, bought nothing except for a packet of tiny nappies and three towelling bibs. Fortunately my sister came to the rescue as she has done on many occasions. I can’t thank her enough.
Exactly three years later, after a heavy episode of bleeding, I was whisked off in an ambulance to the maternity ward once more and E awoke on the morning of her third birthday to find Mummy gone and a beautiful fluffy rocking-horse in her place. L was supposed to arrive one month later too. What is it about November that they both wanted to avoid? Cold birthday parties? Being nasty Scorpios?
I miss their baby days. Their gappy two-teeth smiles, their gurgling laughter, their carrot-covered faces. I miss the shopping trips with them strapped to my chest, wrapped in their bear-hooded jumpsuit. The walks in the park in their pram, their big blue eyes staring up at the trees.
And I miss their toddler days. The playdough all smudged together in one big multi-coloured lump, the search for snails in the garden, the messy painting and drawing on the kitchen table.
But what I miss most is standing at the gate to their nursery school, waiting for them to rush out, run up the path and grab me around the legs, their eyes shining with all the exciting things they had to tell me about their day.
But as I hum the unforgettable lyrics to the Bay City Rollers’ most memorable hit (yes, this is really, really showing my age) I realise that I also have to sing ‘Hello’ to these astonishing young adults. The babies have gone but the young women who have replaced them are just as extraordinary. They are beautiful both inside and out. They are kind, intelligent, open and warm. They are both creative, E as a writer and L as a dancer. They are funny, cool, generous girls. They understand without judging, always try to see beyond the surface, are very family-oriented and I am extremely proud of both of them.
This role I have had for the last twenty-one years is without a doubt the best, most interesting and most rewarding role I will ever play in my life. Thank you girls, for making me a mum. Your mum.